I’m incredibly focused, and scared, because the next three days we are shooting our short film, “Today You, Tomorrow Me.” It’s really intimidating, and I’ve spent so much time and energy in this […] I’m trying my very best to remain optimistic. But we’re filming in the Angeles National Forest, where we’re guaranteed to be at least questioned by a ranger and potentially (most likely) kicked out since we failed to get a permit. Hopefully he’s cool and leaves us be. Standby.
This is a quote from my journal the night before we set out to film our first big short film (yes, Colin and I keep journals, no, we don’t keep them under our pillows… they’re journals, not diaries). It was a huge learning experience, to say the least. Our goal was to jump in full force on our first film, to try to experience as many aspects in film production we could in a single experience. This included casting / hiring five actors, including two child actors, renting a high quality camera we’ve never used before, having an ‘assistant,’ writing a script and shot list, holding rehearsals, scouting a location… stuff like that.
Now, I wish I could sit here and say that we made an incredible film that we’re proud and excited to put out into the world. But there’s one big problem, we didn’t finish. Remember that ~$2000 permit we didn’t get… story time. We had three filming days on an isolated road in LA County and, aside from some weather issues, had a successful first two days. We’re on our last day with a few hours left to film, and Angeles National Forest Ranger A. Nash (I will never forget this nametag) pulled up and shut down our operation, regardless of how incredibly depressed I looked and how much I begged. (I’ve already decided that “A. Nash” will be the name of all villains in all my future scripts).
To make matters worse, our beloved minivan decided to die right then and there… stopping us from possibly moving to another location and finishing up elsewhere. In retrospect it is pretty funny: our film’s plot is about how a car breaks down on the side of the road and well… yeah. Minivan down. So we called it quits, drove home and drowned our sorrows in gluten free pizza and tequila, unsure of the future of the film.
After going through the footage, it turns out there are a lot of things we would like to change and reshoot, so the whole debacle was probably a blessing. And aside from the film itself, our main goal was to learn, and that we assuredly did. We are not giving up on the short, and intend to set another film date to finish it up in the next month or so. I think the biggest take-away from all of this is: don’t be afraid to take chances. This whole thing seems small in scale, but was a huge undertaking for us that cost us thousands and took weeks of preparation, and while the film overall is currently a failure (and I really took it hard when we were unable to finish), the experience was priceless and set us up to have a higher potential for success for future projects.
So get out there, take risks, and fail fail fail. It’s the only way to truly recognize your potential and create successes that are worth achieving.
“I can accept failures, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” -Michael Jordan